Day 4 of our Sierra High Route trip. We woke early enough and headed around the north side of Lake Catherine. Ascended the NE glacier with crampons and axes before turning our tools and attention on the slightly more difficult glacier portion to access Ritter's North Face Route. Once on the route, I followed Mike's path and instructions when needed. The climbing remained 3rd class but for me it was both chossy and exposed. Just when I felt I was reaching my breaking point I heard Mike announce "we're at the top" and as I turned the final corner I was relieved to see he wasn't pulling my leg. I had made it up! First laid eyes on this beast from the 2019 JMT hike, so stoked to be able to come back and summit. We descended without issue and then slogged up Banner's talus field to its summit. A great day in the mountains I will never forget.
Started at Garnet Lake in the morning 12 hrs to go to the climb, climb, and come back. Cut my arm in loose scree.
Crampons and ice axe were helpful; class 2/3 scrambling with some loose rocks to the top
Traverse from Banner then off the other side.
13 hour day hike from Agnew Meadows. Ascended the SE Glacier route and Owen's chute. Descended the Secor chute. Tough day, but well worth it!
On ascent we made the mistake of going south of the SE pinnacle (I believe this is the Clyde variation), this resulted in a very difficult slog up a dangerously loose chute, followed by a traverse across a angled snowfield to reach the SE glacier. From there we were able to ascend the far north edge of the crunchy ice, not too steep but the crampons were helpful. We ascended the slope adjacent to the upper chute, this was not tough at all, leading up to the summit ridge at 12,500 where it was a steep but not too difficult class 2 ascent. On descent we avoided the snowfield and terrible chute by taking the SE Glacier route, skirting below the SE pinnacle and then reconnecting with our morning route, this worked much better. 10 hours from camp to summit and back to camp. Hiked the 7 miles back to the TH after breaking down camp, making for a long day.
Solo climb via SE glacier and a direct line up the southern face of summit, finding some spicy Class 4 in mountaineering boots. Awesome!
After Banner, we climbed Ritter's North Face via the Right Hand Chute. I really enjoyed this route and it's definitely in my top 5 of Sierra climbs to date.
The scree and loose rock on this peak has to be the worst I've ever experienced. Scenery and view from the top made up for it though. The hike in from Ediza took waaaay longer than I expected for I had to backpack out to Agnew Meadows in the dark. Good trip... great area.
I approached the Ritter-Banner saddle from 1000 Island with the notion of checking out the South East Corner, an old Underhill route that the Moynier guide rated as 4th class. It looked WAY harder (rated 5.7 on this site) so I kept walking. Glad I did since the North Face was terrific and attention getting.
Got the Ritter Banner col, and wanted to bag both peaks, but looking up at the glacier on Ritter, decided it would take some dedicated climbing, so we gave away Banner. We could see Banner from the top of Ritter and its quite a view. Look forward to getting that one too. My partner was elated on top.
Long day from Agnew Meadows with John.
John waited at the bottom before the final ascent.
Beautiful cloudless day.
Starting in the dark I accidentally left my car door open. Luckily the bears left it alone.
The crux was the cliffs at the base of the route. Once these were navigated it was a boulder hop followed by a brief glacier walk in this drought year and then another boulder hop to the top. Epic views and a splendid climb!
From Agnew Meadow I hiked around Thousand Island Lake, up to North Glacier Pass and Lake Catherine, past the Ritter Lakes, and up the west slope. The Meadow Fire near Mt. Starr King & Little Yosemite Valley area expanded explosively on this windy day, sending up a huge plume as I scrambled upward. All but distant north and west views were still in good form as the smoke blew away high to the northeast over Tuolumne Meadows toward and beyond Mono Lake. I descended the SE Col/Glacier route, finding my chosen path steep, nearly bone dry, and loose. Still, I enjoyed it and got to see Ediza area before daylight waned on my way back to the trailhead. Not a bad introduction to hiking in the Ritter Range/Minarets. I'll be back for more!
Challenging and interesting climbing.
Hiked in from Agnew Meadows, camped on north side of Ediza Lake. Left camp next morning around 4am, made summit around 12pm, back to camp around 3pm, trailhead at 8pm. Big day overall, absolutely stunning scenery.
Beautiful hike. As it did not freeze over night at camp we started early morning from Lake Ediza to encounter the fast rotting snow only on the descent. We enjoyed a perfect sunrise just before tackling the short slope to the saddle of the Clyde variation.
Found a 4th class variation on accident. Long day. But really pretty. Note to self --- go back when there is snow. Scree sucks.
Fun climb. Nice to finally bag this one after an Oct 1991 climb of Banner and years of driving up and down 395 looking at it. 6.5 hours round trip from Lake Ediza. 51st Calif. county highpoint. Rock'n Roll baby!
Hiked in from Agnew Meadows, set up base camp at Ediza Lake. Went up Ritter first on Friday - from cirque with Banner, climbed a waterfall to lower snow slopes, into the glacier, up Owens Chute and talus hop to summit. Sky was overcast, but views were still incredible. One of the classic climbs of the Sierra!